According to University Health Services, the national implementation of the Affordable Care Act makes the State Board of Education mandate useless.
Health Services believes the state mandate requiring all full-fee-paying students to have health insurance is a point of aggravation for both the health center staff and university students.
“If everyone has to be insured, why do you have to have a state mandate?” asked Libby Greaney, the executive director of University Health and Recreation. “Why do you have to use up employee time processing all these waivers?”
According to Greaney, nearly 80 percent of all of full-time students who are automatically enrolled in the Sudent Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) opt to waive that insurance in favor of a different plan.
“We could be spending our time with the other 20 percent, helping them find a good insurance product,” Greaney said.
With the total implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Jan. 2014, the state mandate will become more of a hindrance than a help to students. The mandate requires all full-time students be automatically enrolled in SHIP, but beginning in 2014, a majority of students will already have nationally-mandated insurance, meaning more students will need to go through the process to waive SHIP.
“We have complaints from parents and students; they don’t like the fact that they’re automatically charged for the SHIP product they did not ask for,” Greaney said.
The Affordable Care Act will enable students to remain on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26, but there will still be students coming into the university in need of insurance. For this reason, SHIP will still exist but in a different form.
Health Services would be able to work with students to provide insurance through a broker in the community who can help the student find a plan that caters directly to him or her.
Alternately, Health Services can enroll students in the SHIP program, which is already fully compliant to the requirements listed by the Affordable Care Act. For a temporary period, students can be legally covered by SHIP.
Greaney suggested the mandate be amended to reflect the changes in health care, eliminating automatic enrollment and replacing it with the option to waive into the SHIP program.